The news that he was traveling to Toronto on Friday made him and his wife cry.
Then came the hard part, having to tell their three kids that he was joining the Blue Jays under a deadline deal that sent two highly rated Minor Leaguers to the Twins.
“I know it will be difficult because this year they are bigger. They grow up. They know more about life and also about some people, ”said Barrios, predicting the greatest difficulty for his 7-year-old daughter, Valentina.
Sebastian, soon to be 5, and Diego, 3, had also become attached to Minneapolis and their friends.
Barrios, drafted 32nd overall by the Twins in 2012, made his debut for Minnesota in 2015. Although Puerto Rico is their home, he and his wife, Jannieliz, have firmly rooted themselves in the community. He worked hard to be able to speak English effectively. Barrios was convinced enough of the twins that he asked the team’s senior communications director, Dustin Morse, to set up a Zoom farewell session with reporters.
“When you have your first team or your first time at everything, that’s where I made my MLB debut, so it’s going to be in my heart my whole life,” Barrios said from St. Louis, where he had to play. start a three-game series against the Cardinals.
Instead, the playoff-chasing Blue Jays won the aggressive double-All-Star pursuit, who was one of the most attractive players available in the market. They parted ways with infielder / outfield Austin Martin and right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson for Barrios, 27.
Toronto started the day 51-48, fifth in pursuit of two AL wild cards with a 4-1 / 2-game deficit to fill. Barrios was 7-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 20 starts for the Twins this season, their undisputed ace who has been as durable as any pitcher in the game and remains under the control of the team. throughout the 2022 season.
Sadness aside, the possibility of returning to a playoff run will help stem the tide for Barrios a bit.
“They’re competing and trying to get that push into the playoffs. I’m so happy to be a part of it, and I’m going to put myself in the best position to help this team succeed this year, ”he said. .
Barrios have struck out 126 in 121 2/3 innings this season and kept their opponents at a 0.213 batting average. He was 55-43 with a 4.08 ERA in his career with Minnesota.
Dealing with Barrios will take a tough short-term rotation back even further, but the Twins had leverage, with so many teams looking for top-of-the-line starting pitchers. Minnesota has decided to speed up the reset process for 2022 and beyond after this disappointing season on the heels of back-to-back AL Central titles.
“We were setting the bar high for a lot of those conversations,” Baseball Operations President Derek Falvey said after the deadline expired.
Martin, 22, reached 0.281 with a 0.424 based percentage and scored 43 points in 55 games for Double-A New Hampshire. This is his first professional season after being drafted fifth overall in 2020 on Vanderbilt, where he helped win the College World Series in 2019. Martin was ranked this year by MLB.com as the second-best prospect in the game. Toronto system and 16th-best prospect in minor leagues. He played for the American League at the All-Star Futures Games this month at Coors Field. This AL team was managed by the Twins’ special assistant, LaTroy Hawkins.
Woods Richardson, 20, was 2-4 with a 5.76 ERA in 11 starts for Double-A New Hampshire. Ranked 68th overall on MLB.com, Woods Richardson now plays for the United States at the Tokyo Olympics with fellow pitcher Joe Ryan, who was acquired by the Twins last week in a trade that sent slugger Nelson Cruz in Tampa Bay. Woods Richardson was a second-round draft pick in 2018 by the New York Mets, who transferred him to Toronto in the trade for pitcher Marcus Stroman in 2019.
The Twins also traded two more pitchers on deadline day, sending starter JA Happ to St. Louis and reliever Hansel Robles to Boston.
Barrios was one of the few local pitchers the Twins had successfully drafted and developed over the past two decades, but they had not been able to guarantee him a long-term contract and were not ready to try. to outbid him on the open market if he managed to become a free agent next year. So they took advantage of its hot market this summer and took a step closer to restocking.
Along with Ryan, Woods Richardson and Drew Strotman, who was also recently acquired from the Rays for Cruz, the Twins have three other viable options for their future rotation.
One player the Twins have clung to was often injured center fielder Byron Buxton whom they have yet to sign for extra time. Falvey said the Twins generated a lot of interest in versatile Buxton, but not enough to justify his move.
“We’re just going to continue to focus on getting him as healthy as possible, coming back to the pitch and playing for us,” Falvey said.